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duct of my moral honesty and righteousness; that joy and peace had been seminally contained in those actions ; but now I see such fruit can spring from no other root but special grace, Glory is disclosed from no other bud but holiness. Alas! all my planting and fowing was to little purpose, because I fowed not the right kind of seed; the best fruit I can expect from this, is but a lefser degree of damnation.
Deluded soul! thy feed is no better than what the moral heathens sowed : And do I expect. better fruit than what they reaped ? Civility without Chrift,, is but a freer slavery ;, and Satan holds me as fast in captivity by tliis, as he doth the prophane by the pleasure of their lufts: Either I must fow better seed, or look to reap bitter fruit. The holy foul's
3. Mean while, bless the Lord, O my foul!
who enabled thee to sow better seed; who reflection.
kept thee watching, humbling thyself, and praying, whilst others have been swearing, drinking and blarpheming : This will yield thee fruit of joy in the world.to come; yea, it already yields present peace to thy conscience : Thése revenues are better than gold, sweeter thail the honey, and the honey-comb; not that such. fruits are meritoriously contained in these actions ; I fow to myself in righteousness, but I reap in mercy, Hof. x. 12. This is the way in which God will fave and glorify me. O then, let me be ever abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that my labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
The PO E M.
Cherries or plumbs grow on an apple-tree.
Such reasonings here their credulous fouls beguile,
Upon the Joy of Harveft-men.
OBSER V A TI O N.
ture, as the most excellent and remarkable. (1.) Nuptial joys; the day of espousals is the day of the gladness of a man's heart, Cant. iii. II. (2.) The joy of children : Though now it seems but a common merey to most, and a burden to same, yet the people of God were wont to esteem it a choice mercy, and rejoiced greatly in it, John xvi. 21. there is joy that a man is born into the world. (3.) The joy of conquefts and viftories, when men divide the spoil : And, lastly, The joy of harvest. These two we find put together, as principal matters of joy, Ifa. ix. 3. “ They joy before thee, according to “ the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the “ spoil.” The joy of harvest is no small joy Gaudium mens eft mellis gaudii ; The joy of the harvest, is the harvest of their joy. It is usual with men, when they baye reaped down their harvest (or cut the neck, as they call it) to demonstrate their joy by shouting, andýloud acclamations,
and shout for joy, when they reap the favour and love of God, for which they laboured in many a weary duty. This joy of harvest, as great as it is, and as much as carnal hearts are lifted up with it, is but a trifle, a thing of nought, compared with yours ; after they have fown to themselves in righteoulness, and waited for the effects and returns of their duties with patience, and at last come to reap in mercy, either the full har. veft in heaven, or but the first-fruits of it on earth, yet rejoice, « with joy unspeakable and full of glory," 1 Pet. i. 8. “This
puts more gladness into their hearts, than when corn and wine “ increase,” Psalm iv: 7. Carnal joys are but as foul-fevers, the agues of the inward man ; there is a great difference be. twixt the unnatural inflammations of a feverish body, which waste the spirits, and drink up the radical moisture, and the kindly well-tempered heart of an healthy body; and as much between the sweet, serene, and heavenly joy, which flow from the bofom of Christ in the hearts of believers, and those earthly delights which carnal hearts, in a sensual way, suck out of creature enjoyments. I will shew you the transcendency of spiritual joys, above the joy of harvest, in these eight particulars following.
1. You that joy with the joy of the harvest, are glad, because pow you have food for yourselves and families to live upon all the year, but the Christian rejoiceth, because he hath bread to eat that the world knows not of, Rev. ii. 17. Chưist is the Food of his soul, and his felh is meat indeed, and his blood,
drink indeed, John V. 55. (.e.) the most real and excellent food. You read, Psalm lxxviji. 25. that men did eat angels food, (i.e.) Manna; which was such excellent bread, that if angels did live upon material food, this would be chosen for them; and yet this is but a type and dark shadow of Jesus Chrift, the-food of believers.
2. You rejoice when your harvest is in, because corn is virtually many other things besides' food; you can turn it into cloaths to keep you warm, and many
other neceflaries may purchased by it: but yet it is not like Chrift, the object of a saint's joy; though it answers many things, it doth not anfwer all things, as Christ doth; turn it into what you will, it hath but a limited and respective usefulness; but Jesus Chrift is all in all to believers, and out of him their faith can fetch all supplies; he is their health in sickness, their strength in weakness, their ease in pain, their honour in reproach, their wealth in poverty, their friend in friendlesness, their habitation when harbourless, their enlargement in bonds, the strength of their hearts, and life of their life; O! he is a full Chrift! and whatever excellencies are scattered
all the creatures, do meet all in him, and much more.
3. You rejoice when you have gotten in your harveft, because now you can free those engagements, and pay those debts which you have contracted. 'Tis a comfort to be out of debt; and you may lawfully rejoice that God gives you wherewith to quit your engagements, that you may owe no man any thing but love: but still the joy of harvest falls short of the joy of the saints; for you rejoice that you are, or have wherewith to help yourselves out of mens debt: but they rejoice that they are out of God's debt; that his book is cancelled, and their fins pardoned: that by reason of the imputed righteousness of Christ, the law can demand nothing from them, Rom. viii. 1.
what matter of joy is this !
4. You rejoice, because now your corn is out of danger; all the while it was abroad, it was in hazard, but now it is hous. ed
you fear not the rain: but Christians rejoice, not because their corn is safe, but because their souls are fo. All the while they abode in an unregenerate state, they were every moment in danger of the storms of wrath: but now, being in Chrift, that danger is over, and what compare is there betwixt the safety of a little corn, and the security of an immortal fou) ?
5. Your joy is but a gift of common providence. Turks and Heathens can rejoice with your joy; but the joy of a Christian, is a peculiar favour and gift of God. Corn is given to all na
tions, even the most barbarous and wicked have store of it; but Christ is the portion but of a few, and those the dearly beloved of God. Luther said of the whole Turkish empire (where is the best and greatest store of corn) that it is but a crumb which the master of the family throws to the dogs. He that had more corn than his barns could hold, now wants a drop of water to cool his tongue. Christ is a gift bestowed only upon God's cleat.
6. Your joy will have an end ; the time is coming, that when you have reaped down your harvests, yourselves muft be reaped down by death, and then you shall rejoiee in these things no more: But when your joy is ended, then is the joy of laines perfected; they reap their harvest, when you leave your harvest; their confolation is everlasting.
7. God can separate your joy from these enjoyments, even while you have them, as well as when you leave them. Tis one thing for a man to have riches and full barns, and another thing to have comfort in them, Eccles. v. 19, 20. But now the joy of Christians is a thing inseparable from their enjoyment of Christ: indeed the sense of their interest may be lost, and so the acts of their joy intermitted : but they always have it in the seed, if not in the fruit, Pfalm xcvii. 11. “ Joy is sown « for the upright ;" he hath it still in the principle, and in the promise.
8. The joy of harvest-men, for the most part, is only in their harvest, and in such earthly things; take that away, and their joy ceases. Earthly hearts are acquainted with no higher comforts; but the people of God can joy in him, and take comfort in their earthly enjoyments too: And what comfort they take in these things, is inuch more refined and sweet than yours; for they enjoy all these things in God, and his love in giving them, puts a sweetness into them, that you are unacquainted with. Thus you see, how far your joys fall short of theirs.
R E F L E CTION S.
1. How have I rejoiced in a thing of nought, Areflection
and pleased myself with a vanity ? God hath for one that blefied me in my fields, and in my stores; but hath a full
not with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in barn, but no Chrift.
Christ. My barns are full of corn, but my soul
is empty of grace ; common bounty hath given me a fulness of the things of this life; but what if the meaning of it should be to fat me for the day of flaughter? What if this be the whole of my portion from the Lord? What if the lan